Vijay Bajaj
By
May 23, 2019

Respondents Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19

 

Which of these do you believe is the most crucial, critical challenge?


Featured Responses

20 % mentioned changing customer demands as one of the most critical OpEx-focused challenges that are affecting their job, read more in this 'BTOES ARTICLE - Demands Of The Customer Are Changing'.

"This company's culture would fit nicely about a decade ago. We cannot continue to ask for improvements in technology and support processes and allow for the rest of the company (HR and executive teams) to work under an Old Power model."

Associate Director - Video Operations
Information Technology Services

"Execution & Sustaining Operational Excellence Projects. This is most crucial for our company at this point because we have made vast improvements in our skilled workforce, company culture, and strategic planning over the last few years. Unfortunately, many of these plans fail to materialize for a lack of skill and methodologies for developing, executing, and sustaining operational excellence change plans (projects). More strength in this area could be revolutionary for us."

Director, Organizational Development
Computer Software

"End to End business transformation. We've locked value into how we do business via inefficiencies in our systems. Extracting that value is critical, and Operational Excellence is an element in the strategy to do this."

TES Director USGC and Maintenance Expertise Center
Chemicals

"At this point keeping up with new technologies and implementing them quickly has been a problem that prevented us from capturing the benefits of external innovation."

Business Integration - Associate Services
Food & Beverage Consumer Products

"Lack of Leadership: leaders are overloaded, it’s necessary to have a dedicated leader who can control the overall excellence program."

APU manager
Automotive Retailing, Services

Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19

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Committed leadership, changing and improving the company culture, sustaining the program and the new process designs, embracing new advanced technologies, and having an end-to-end business transformation program are currently the biggest challenges faced by Operational Excellence professionals. Cultural transformation is the hardest thing to do, it is currently the greatest progress limiter, hence why it is the top critical challenge Operational Excellence professionals need to address.

If you want to learn more read this article on 'The Critical Challenges Analysed'.

Below is a selection of the responses from the above open ended question. Responses have been selected to ensure they each add new impactful context to the question. For this question, responses have been grouped into key themes.


Changing & Improving Company Culture

"Changing & Improving Company Culture: We are at a crossroads in Canada, with large scale health authority restructuring to form effective governance structures that are aligned to serve a 4.7 million populace. Culture change is critical."

CEO & Founder
Health Care: Medical Facilities

"Changing & Improving Company Culture, the elements are present but not every leader is consistent on the message of continuous improvement."

Site Director Operational Excellence
Pharmaceuticals

"Changing and Improving Culture. Your best assets are your people: You need everyone rowing in the same direction to drive this type of change."

President
Financial Data Services

"Changing and Improving the Company Culture: As a 50 years + company we have to adjust to the new, more competitive environment and need to get everybody on board to increase productivity and accountability of employees."

Special project and operational excellence manager
Metals

"Changing culture. If our culture is not one of continuous improvement and respect for individual, any tools or project we put in place will not be sustainable."

Director of Operational Excellence
Health Care: Medical Facilities

"Changing/Improving Company Culture ...because culture trumps everything."

Vice President Operational Excellence 
Medical Devices

"Culture of Excellence to create, maintain and sustain organisational development, performance improvement and sustain growth." 

Chief Executive Officer
Miscellaneous

"Culture: No matter how good your CI program is, if the company is not ready to adopt and transform, it will not fly."

AVP
Financial Data Services

"I believe that culture is the start and end of any company. the going concern requires that the company can adapt to changing business environments and continuously improves and innovates. If the mindset of the company is to stick with what is successful at the start, the company will fail with the passing of the founding team."

Management Consultant
Information Technology Services

"Improving culture as it holds us back and prevents new thinking."

Org design specialist
Chemicals

"This company's culture would fit nicely about a decade ago. We cannot continue to ask for improvements in technology and support processes and allow for the rest of the company (HR and Executive Teams) to work under an Old Power Model."

Associate Director - Video Operations
Information Technology Services

"To have senior management commitment; Many CEOs focus on customer needs and financing and do not see business transformation as necessary."

President
Miscellaneous

Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19

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Execution & Sustaining Operational Excellence Projects

"Executing & Sustaining OpEx Projects: there are 5 strategic imperatives that need to be successfully implemented for our business strategy to work, and effective, consistent use of OpEx will be a key part of each one."

sr Director, Change Leadership
Insurance: Property and Casualty (Stock)

"Executing and sustaining - there are lots of great ideas but executing them, and ultimately sustaining the improvements is very difficult, as most cultures want to move on to the next challenge once the feel they have implemented an improvement, and they also feel that once implemented it will not fail, so won’t put any effort into sustaining."

President
Miscellaneous

"Execution & Sustaining Operational Excellence Projects. This is most crucial for our company at this point because we a have made vast improvements in our skilled workforce, company culture, and strategic planning over the last few years. Unfortunately, many of these plans fail to materialize for a lack of skill and methodologies for developing, executing, and sustaining operational excellence change plans - (projects). More strength in this area could be revolutionary for us."

Director, Organizational Development
Computer Software

"There is a strong tendency to start OpEx projects and then in 1-2 months decrease it down to several to-dos, without serious OpEx effect. Managers prefer to show off the activity and then neutralise whatever is external to their function even on cross-functional projects."

Head of Performance Improvement Back Office
Commercial Banks

"Execution and Sustaining OpEx - We spent a lot of funds and plenty of effort in the program, but we failed to see bottom line results - things just went back to the way they were."

CI Manager
Food & Beverage Consumer Products

"Operational Excellence as a function has reached its saturation peak and now it is the age of Digital Disruption. Leveraging Ops Excellence would involve doing Design Thinking to understand customer needs and then integrating concepts of variance reduction leveraging Lean Six Sigma to design the "Ideal process" - this should then go through the digital transformation."

Assistant Vice President - Operational Excellence
Diversified Outsourcing Services

"Sustaining OpEx programs. how to live a culture of consequence management with clear KPIs and empowerment."

Wepa
Financial Data Services

"Sustaining OpEx projects. Changing the behaviors of Managers and Leaders to support- the change in the systems they sit over."

Principal Consultant
Miscellaneous

"Ever-changing headcount and personnel continuously changes the dynamics of how our OpEx works effectively. Continuous retraining, and refreshers are necessary to bring new personnel up to pace, and encourage senior personnel to maintain."

Sr. Technical Specialist, Municipal Market Development
Industrial Machinery

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Need for end-to-end Business Transformation

"Business transformation in order to keep up with changing customer (internal and external) demands."

Continuous Improvement Program Manager 
Insurance: Property and Casualty (Mutual)

"End-to-End Business Implementation Operational Excellence can't be grown to full potential and sustained if it is not part of the normal business."

Innovation Director
Electronics, Electrical Equipment

"End-to-End Business Transformation is the biggest challenge. Managers have to come out of the short term "Cost Saving" mindset doing silo projects, rather should drive Value Stream Transformation to improve flow."

Director Lean Six Sigma
Electronics, Electrical Equipment

"End-to-End Business Transformation requires thoroughly understanding of both the value chain impacts, critical paths and value streams to influence."

Owner and Co-Founder
Hotels, Casinos, Resorts

"End-to-End Business Transformation, serving our customers is a team sport; Everyone in the value chain needs to understand they impact our ability to win."

VP - Ops/Supply Chain
Household and Personal Products

"End-to-End Business Transformation. We've locked value into how we do business via inefficiencies in our systems. Extracting that value is critical, and Operational Excellence is an element in the strategy to do this."

TES Director USGC and Maintenance Expertise Center
Chemicals

"End-to-End transformation. Having our commercial team not on the same journey creates challenges on the ways of working and the priorities."

VP Opex
Food & Beverage Consumer Products

"Need for End to End transformation. We are on the way to doing this but it is painfully slow. We are integrating agile and Data science where needed to help accelerate."

Six Sigma Master Black Belt
Computer Software

"Implementation is critical in a company of our size (450,000 people). We need to look for sustainable ways to implement and gain buy in from operations people."

SVP BIGS
Food Services

"Good outcomes happen when business units are merged together. Some challenges do occur relating to the integration of cultures and expectation of business transformation. Business transformation, the recipe to continued success, is in my opinion most crucial."

VP of Operations/Site Lead, Analytical Instruments BU
Electronics, Electrical Equipment

"Small to medium businesses need end to end Business Transformation for massive net benefits but sadly less than 1 percent are doing it."

Founder
Computer Software

"We have people in our organization leading out Transformation without real knowledge of Lean...they can’t do it. And our senior leaders are very hesitant to incorporate a Lean expert into senior ranks."

Senior Lean Consultant
Financial Data Services

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'Keeping up' with New Technologies

"At this point keeping up with new technologies and implementing them quickly has been a problem that prevented us from capturing the benefits of external innovation."

Business Integration - Associate Services
Food & Beverage Consumer Products

"Keeping up with new technologies. New technologies are constantly being released into the corporate world without enough maturity, testing and validation. What used to be trustworthy standards are no longer being "favored" by the new culture of young "technology oriented" leadership found at all levels of customer companies. Just the fact that it is the "newest" or the "latest" makes these immature, incompetent managers think they have the solution to everything. However, results show the contrary."

President
Health Care: Medical Facilities

"Keeping up' with New technologies - some key basic infrastructure shared globally is severely outdated, disrupts workflow and limits building bridges to new system/technologies."

Director, Operations Emerging Business Models
Publishing, Printing

"Keeping up with New Technologies - The processes are more digitized and need to be available on demand to the right stakeholder with the right info for effective decision making."

Global P2P Manager
Household and Personal Products

"New technologies are being introduced so rapidly that we must have a methodology for integrating them."

Managing Partner
Diversified Financials

Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19

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Lack of/Need for Leadership Understanding & Buy-In

"Buy in from Management. No Operational Excellence journey can happen without Management leading it."

Quality Analyst
Forest and Paper Products

"C-level Leadership buy-in. Only their priorities can get done in busy healthcare."

SVP
Health Care: Medical Facilities

"Lack of leadership understanding because the leadership team are role models for the rest of the business."

Director
Miscellaneous

"Lack of Leadership: Leaders are overloaded, it’s necessary to have a dedicated leader who can control the overall Excellence program."

Director
Miscellaneous

"Lack of/Need for Leadership Understanding & Buy-In - the CEO should initiate implementing operational excellence programs. at the same time, he should be a role model in operational excellence."

Senior Content Marketing Specialist
Information Technology Services

"Leadership buy-in the and the agreement flowing down to people on the floor is the most crucial aspect. If this doesn't happen OPEX cannot build a foundation!"

Sr Project Manager
Electronics, Electrical Equipment

"Lack of Understanding and/or buy in. Leaders know we need it but don't understand what "it" is and how to execute "it"."

Director Business Process: Marketing 
Internet Services and Retailing

"Leadership understanding & buy-in; must recognize the value of OpEx as a long term investment with substantial reward, need commitment to maintain the conversion effort, and must "walk the talk" as leaders."

Founder & Lead Consultant
Education

"Leadership understanding and buy-in. Sustaining and Integrating the Operational Excellence methodology into the fiber of the organization would be smoother if and when there existed continuous & regular follow-up. Understanding and accountability on the leadership."

Business Improvement Manager
Airlines

"Leadership, without an understanding of and ability to drive Operational Excellence and the Culture to support and sustain, it will not happen."

Owner
Education

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Maintaining Key Priorities Consistently

"Maintain priority - client support is 1, prospects are 2, improvement and systems are down the list."

CEO/President
Information Technology Services

"Maintaining key priorities and deliver what has been planned. Change the management way of doing things by adapting the lean agile."

Principal
Information Technology Services

"Maintaining key priorities and monitoring the progress on those priorities is the most crucial for us at the moment. We have problems with focusing on what's crucial and also giving up on things that distract us."

Group Business Transformation Director
Publishing, Printing

"Reconciling competing priorities and agendas remains a top priority. Trying to execute OpEx initiatives without explicitly aligning well intentioned stakeholders with competing agendas makes things difficult."

Client Partner
Pharmaceuticals

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Adapting to Business Trends

"Adapting to business trends: The Software team is very slow to respond to innovation which has a ripple effect on the operations at all levels."

Chief Operating Officer
Information Technology Services

"Adapting to Business Trends- Continuous improvement and OpEx will usually optimize the present, but disruptive trends wll put the initiatives quickly into reverse gear."

EGM- Operational Excellence
Automotive Retailing, Services

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Demands of the customer changing

"The changing demand of customers dictates the way we deliver our services, everything else follows."

Partner
Information Technology Services

"Demands of customer - if they go away or we don't reach them, we lose them."

Director
Education

"Demands of Customer Changing: Customers demanding more customisation & faster delivery."

Business Mentor
Industrial Machinery

 

Integrating CI Methodologies

"Integrating CI methodologies. Because of bias for black belt status resistance to integrated approach of various better methodologies."

President
Education

"Integrating CI Methodologies. Many have had training in the tools, but choose to stop doing them after some time has passed. Difficulties in tying it to day-to-day priorities and work. Often still firefighting."

Continuous Improvement Manager
Forest and Paper Products

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Lack of/Need for Resources

"It is getting more and more difficult to find available resources with the skills required to work on initiatives which are out of the scope of the daily business."

CEO
Computer Software

"Lack of/Need resources: Looking at the specific situation in Venezuela, talent drain is a challenge and is impacting the capacity to undertake OpEx work coupled with business priorities. Nonetheless, it is a priority and we are attacking head on the work ahead of us."

Supply Operations Head
Food & Beverage Consumer Products

 

Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers

"Lack of skilled workers - takes time to train and educate them."

Regional Operations Director
Financial Data Services

"Lack of skilled workers- sapping capacity due to time taken to train."

Head of R&D
Medical Devices

"Skilled workers: particularly around machine learning."

CEO
Chemicals

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Lack of/Need to Improve Relationships Between Departments

"Department relationships. We keep reorganizing and the resulting fallout is a tendency to protect your own turf and not work as closely with others as you could."

Process Line Manager - Mineral Processing Mining
Crude-Oil Production

"Lack of/need to improve relationships between departments. Hospitals are very complex enterprises. The care of patients is nonlinear and should flow throughout several departments. Each department needs to understand their role in this flow and their interactions."

MD MBA
Hospitals

"Ability to bring together disparate functions across the organization."

VP Procurement / Real Estate 
Electronics, Electrical Equipment

 Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19

Failure to Innovate

"Failure to Innovate - Innovation breeds sustainability, there is a need to ensure growth is steady and continuous."

Head of Operations
Information Technology Services

"Failure to Innovate - still looking at incremental improvements vs transformational ones."

Executive Director
Telecommunications

"Failure to innovate: This lead to a lack of ability to develop new solutions for our changing customer needs, and inability to sustain our competitive advantage."

Risk Management Officer
Securities

"Innovation is the profitable exploitation of ideas. Whilst, innovation might be common currency in products, we see little innovation in operations."

Director
Education

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Lack of/Need for support from Employees

"Lack of support from employees, because everyone is heads-down to support their client engagements to absorb the philosophy of process-based organizational excellence."

Manager, Performance Improvement Advisory Practice
Pharmaceuticals

"Lack of support from Employees. Employee engagement is very important for implementing and sustaining the change. We want to do better in this area."

Lead Management Engineer
Health Care: Medical Facilities

"Support of employees as they think new programs won’t improve performance."

Quality Manager
Industrial Machinery

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19


About the Author

Most Crucial Challenges - Research Report 2018/19Vijay Bajaj, Founder and CEO of BTOES has founded, built and sold two successful market-leading businesses. The first in London, UK in the office equipment distribution sector, which he launched in 1991 and sold to Ingram Micro in 1999, after which he took a year off and traveled around India with his wife. The second headquartered out of Chicago, IL, in the large-scale commercial B2B conference sector, which was launched in 2001 and sold in 2012.

In 2012 he retired to spend time with family and focus on meditation.

In 2015 he was looking for the next challenge and founded and is currently CEO of the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry Awards (BTOES), which has become the largest senior-level cross-industry event within the sector, BTOES.com, and BTOESInsights.com a professional online content platform for senior-level executives involved in continuous improvement, which has grown to over 188,000 subscribers.

He is also an angel investor, mentor, and board advisor.

Vijay lives in Stanmore, Middlesex, UK, with his wife Reshma, son Armaan, and labrador Archie.


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